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Home / Delhi News / Fire at Covid hospital in Hauz Khas, eight patients rescued

Fire at Covid hospital in Hauz Khas, eight patients rescued

delhi Updated: May 23, 2020 23:42 IST
Soumya Pillai and Anvit Srivastava
Soumya Pillai and Anvit Srivastava

Eight Covid-19 patients were rescued by firefighters after a fire broke out at a private hospital designated for treatment of Covid-19 patients in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas on Saturday evening. All patients are safe and were handed over to the hospital staff for further care, senior fire department officials said.

This is the first time the Delhi Fire Service (DFS) team had to pull off a rescue operation of people infected with the highly contagious Sars-Cov-2 virus. The rescued included five men and three women.

Atul Garg, director, DFS, said the rescue operation was a big challenge but was carried out efficiently with none of the patients sustaining any burn injury.

“We received a call around 5.45pm reporting that Cygnus Orthocare hospital opposite IIT-Delhi campus has caught fire. Five fire tenders were rushed to the hospital to contain the fire and later three more units had to be sent,” Garg said.

“Our firefighters who reached the spot found that it was a three-storey building with a basement. We found that fire started in an operation theatre on the third floor. Ensuring proper precautions, wearing gumboots, gloves, goggles, helmet and fire suits, our men entered the hospital in two teams, with three men in each team,” Garg said.

He said because the building was full of smoke, their men were wearing breathing apparatuses to be able to locate those trapped inside.

“After successfully locating each of the patients, because none of them were injured due to the fire, our firefighters guided them out of the building,” Garg said.

The team that was involved in the rescue operation said that it was only upon reaching the hospital that they got to know that there were Covid-19 patients admitted there. Sumesh Kumar Dua, divisional officer, who led the rescue operation, said the only focus of his team was to evacuate the occupants of the building safely.

“We have dealt with all kinds of rescue operations, but this was a first of its kind. It was natural for us to be a bit scared. We, too, are human but all that we had in mind was to safely get everyone out of the building and to douse the flames,” Dua said.

He said the firefighters were attired in their helmets, gumboots and overalls, apart from masks and gloves. The team was directed to follow all Covid-19 safety protocol such as avoiding contact with the patients' faces to prevent any infection possibility.

“The fire was doused in less than an hour and afterwards, the entire team was thoroughly sanitised, and so were the tenders and equipment used in the operation,” Dua said.

He said the patients were handed over to the hospital staff for further care.

Cygnus Orthocare Hospital said that there was no major damage was reported in the fire.

“…The fire was first reported on the third floor of the hospital, which houses the operation theatres. The Delhi Fire Services along with the hospital’s fire division have controlled the fire and are still on the job. There has been no loss or damage to life,” said Dr Amit Vig, unit head, Ujala Cygnus Orthocare Hospital.

Without specifying details of where the eight coronavirus positive patients were moved to, Dr Vig said all of them were moved to “safe areas”.

“We are well trained to manage situations like these and our team responded immediately. Everyone (the patients) was moved to safe areas promptly in an organized fashion,” he added.

Fire chief, Garg, said it was the first such operation where they had to rescue coronavirus patients. “Our firefighters did a splendid job. All of them underwent deep cleaning which has been mandated after every rescue operation,” he said.

He also said that the probable cause of the fire was a short-circuit in an air-conditioner in the operation theatre.

However, he said the exact cause will be confirmed following a detailed inspection. Garg appealed to people to get air-conditioners serviced by authorised professionals as short-circuits in ACs is one of the most common causes of fire in summer months.

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